D Company, 228th Aviation Regiment
4th Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment
In 1999, D Company, 228th Aviation Regiment was inactivated and its personnel and equipment folded into the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and A Company of the reorganized 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment.
On 16 January 1990, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 228th Aviation was activated in Honduras at Soto Cano Air Base with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. The Battalion was comprised of 6 companies. In addition to its organic Headquarters and Headquarters Company, A Company, and B company, the Battalion also had two FORSCOM rotational units attached, including CH-47D Chinook helicopters and Medical Evacuation/Air Ambulance units. The Battalion's mission was to conduct Air Assault, Air Movement, Command and Control, Contingency Operations, MEDEVAC, Medical Readiness Training Exercises, and to support US Military Groups in Central America.
On 2 January 1991, the initial Battalion Commander, LTC David H. Pickett and his crew were killed while flying back from El Salvador. Their helicopter was shot down by hostile ground fire near Lolotique, El Salvador. The crew successfully auto rotated down the side of a hill after crossing a ridgeline and being ambushed by rebels. The aircraft crashed into a 4 foot boulder, and then rotated 185 degrees around it. CW4 Daniel Scott was killed instantly as his side of the aircraft struck the boulder, PFC Dawson was rendered unconscious by injuries sustained in the crash sequence, and LTC Pickett survived the impact and was remarkably conscious. Several local farmers were forced at gunpoint by the rebels to drag the crew out of the helicopter. LTC Pickett was said to have asked for some water. The rebels then directed the farmers to go get some water. After the farmers had crossed the ridge line of the hill, the rebels shot PFC Dawson once in the head and then Pickett with 2 bursts of automatic weapons fire. PFC Dawson was posthumously promoted to Specialist.
With the peace accords signed in January 1992 in El Salvador, the Battalion refocused its efforts on counter-drug missions. Along with its support of Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-Bravo) in Honduras, 4th Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment initiated joint training exercises with the Honduran Army to support anti-guerrilla and counter drug operations. C Company, along with it's 8 CH-47D Chinook helicopters, was added in October 1994. Soon after, MEDEVAC transitioned to a permanent detachment with 3 UH-60A Blackhawk helicopters to replace the fleet of aging UH-1 Hueys. On 15 August 1995, with the fallout of the end of the Cold War, the Battalion drew down.
On 11 August 1995, the unit was reduced to Company B (-), 4th Battalion, 228th Aviation, with A and C Companies being inactivated. The (-) modifier was misleading because the Company was larger than most aviation companies at the time. Company B assets included lift and aero medical evacuation elements, as well as intermediated maintenance, flight operations and a headquarters platoon for refueling, supply and motor pool. Assigned to Soto Cano Airbase, Honduras, Company B, 4-228th Aviation was attached 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment at Fort Kobbe, Panama for command and control purposes. Company B, 228th Aviation was under the operational control of the commander of JTF-Bravo.
Between 1995 and 1997, the Eagles of Company B, 228th Aviation were very busy. The Company was deployed to El Salvador to participate in the recovery effort following the tragic Aviateca Airline crash that resulted in more than 60 deaths soon after its reorganization. Shortly following this operation, the Eagles deployed to Belize in support of the Commander-in-Chief, SOUTHCOM's visit in preparation for exchange programs. In October 1995, the Eagles supported counter-drug operations in Yoro, and a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) on the Mosquito Coast, Honduras. The Fuersas Alidadas Peacekeeping mission in late 1995 and early 1996 kept all unit helicopters busy all over Honduras. From January to June 1996, Company B was kept busy with simultaneous missions in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. These missions included Air Assaults, Engineer support Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief.
In April 1996, with the implementation of Operation Plan Central Chance, Company B's mission increased to include air support to all Military Groups and Embassy's in Central America. Operation Clean Sweep stared in summer 1996, with its monthly missions to Nicaragua and Costa Rica supporting the Organization of American States' De-mining efforts. On-going Helicopter Aerial Gunnery and MEDRETE's rounded out a busy initial year for the Eagles. In autumn 1996, with the draw down of US Forces in Panama, the Eagles picked up the additional tasking of 2 UH-60 Blackhawk crews and maintenance support for Operation Safe Border, the Military Observers Mission to Ecuador and Peru (MOMEP). In November 1996, with Operation Pelican in Belize, Company B supported the British and Belize Defense Force, as well as the US Army's 10th Mountain Division. Disaster Relief missions were flown to the San Pedro Sula area in Honduras, to help the flood victims. The year ended with another MEDRETE to Mocoron, Honduras.
On 23 June 1997, Company B was inactivated and the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 228th Aviation was reorganized and redesignated as Company D, 228th Aviation. Company D, 228th Aviation continued with a high operation tempo and in October 1998, the unit was tasked with disaster relief following the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Nearly 650 hours were flown by Company D, 228th Aviation and 180 hours flown by MEDEVAC during Hurricane Mitch disaster relief effort. Throughout the Central American disaster relief, the Company flew President Clinton, Former President Bush, Mrs. Clinton, Ambassadors and Senators throughout the devastated countries.
On 2 June 1999, Company D, 228th Aviation Regiment transferred 2 UH-60's and 2 CH-47's from Panama to Soto Cano Airbase, Honduras. On 4 June 1999, Company D, 228th Aviation Regiment retired its guidon and was absorbed into HHC and A Company, 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment. 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, previously based in Panama, took over the mission previously held by D Company, 228th Aviation Regiment.
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